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Solar Radiation Management


Why is it in the news?

  • India experienced an exceptionally dry August, emphasizing the ongoing threat of disrupted weather patterns and the importance of climate mitigation.
  • Solar radiation management (SRM), a desperate idea to cool the Earth’s surface by blocking incoming solar radiation, poses significant dangers due to its interference with natural mechanisms and potential global consequences.

More about the news

  • SRM experiments by one country can affect weather systems worldwide, leading to unintended and damaging outcomes.
  • Currently, there is no mechanism for holding a geoengineering government accountable for cross-border consequences or providing affected countries with avenues for restitution.
  • The Climate Overshoot Commission’s report calls for more research to address scientific and governance gaps related to SRM before considering its implementation.
    • While acknowledging the urgency of addressing climate change, the report argues against prioritizing SRM over more effective mitigation strategies, such as emissions reduction
  • The commission’s stance on SRM is criticized for potentially diverting resources and focus away from emissions reduction efforts.
    • The report is also questioned for claiming to act in the interests of developing countries while corporate and political interests often prioritize economic growth over climate justice.
Geoengineering
  • Geoengineering encompasses human interventions that alter the Earth’s climate system.
  • Two primary approaches fall under geoengineering: carbon-dioxide removal (CDR) and solar radiation management (SRM).
  • CDR focuses on addressing the root cause of global warming by removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, often involving techniques like carbon capture and storage.
    • CDR aims to reduce greenhouse gas concentrations, addressing the fundamental cause of global warming.
  • SRM, on the other hand, does not directly impact greenhouse gases but mitigates their effects by reflecting sunlight away from the Earth’s surface.
    • SRM, in contrast, provides a means to mask or offset the impact of greenhouse gases without reducing their levels.
The Global Commission on Governing Risks from Climate Overshoot (the ‘Climate Overshoot Commission’) is an independent group of eminent global leaders who will recommend a strategy to reduce risks should Global warming goals be exceeded.

 

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